Loop Q fly reel review

The Loop Q fly reel is a well made large arbour die-cast aluminium reel which shares design cues with the much more expensive Loop Opti fly reel range. It is arguably one of the best looking and best value fly reels in its price bracket.

Loop Q fly reel review
© Fly and Lure
Loop Q fly reel review
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
Loop Q fly reel review
Loop Fly reels Estimated reading time 8 - 12 minutes

What is the Loop Q reel?

The Q reel is Loop's latest fly reel and is now their entry-level model starting at £120, filling the price bracket below the Loop Multi (from £207) which has been empty since looped stopped selling the lightweight composite Loop Xact a few years ago.

While the mid arbour Loop Multi is a good quality reel, it's quite understated and somewhat basic in features now. The Q is a step up in both appearance and functionality and shares the large arbour design of its higher-end siblings, as well as the characteristic silver Loop "L" on the back of the reel, making it look much more expensive than it really is.

The Loop Q reel shares the silver Loop L design with the more expensive Opti reels.

How is the Loop Q made?

The Q was designed and developed in Scandinavia and made in Korea. In common with most fly reels in this price band, and like its Loop Multi cousin, the Loop Q is made from pressure-cast aluminium rather than machined anodised aluminium. This means it's not quite so light and is a little less resilient to bangs and scratches, but costs a fraction of the price of higher-end reels. For general purpose use, die-cast aluminium reels are fine - most of mine are of this style as the machine aluminium ones tend to be so much more expensive, especially when additional spools are needed.

The Q is made from pressure cast aluminium.

What sizes are available?

The Q reel comes in four different sizes to suit most types of fly fishing. The smallest is a 4/6 model for grayling and trout, there's a 6/8 for trout and carp, a 7/9 for pike, carp or sea trout and an 8/11 for salmon and other larger species or those who need to hold a larger fly line and more backing. The smallest model has a 91mm diameter, so is a fraction bigger than the Loop Multi 3/6 and of similar size to the Guideline Favo 4/6. The biggest model has a 113mm diameter and has enough room for a big pike fly line or salmon line and the weight to help it balance a bigger fly rod. Each one comes with a drawstring cloth bag.

Model Line capacity Diameter Inner width Weight
4/6 WF5 + 70 yards of 20lb 91mm 24mm 164g
6/8 WF6 + 100 yards of 20lb 98mm 26mm 188g
7/9 WF7 + 130 yards of 30lb 105mm 30mm 226g
8/11 WF10 + 150 yards of 30lb 113mm 33mm 267g
There are four sizes in the range to suit all kinds of fly fishing.

How much do they weigh?

Die-cast aluminium reels generally tend to feel a little bit heavier than anodised machined aluminium reels due to their thicker metal. The clever design of this reel means there are huge open areas on the rear section, which greatly reduces weight and adds rigidity. It doesn't feel excessively heavy and balances rods well.

There are some good rivals in this class, such as the Sage 2200 series and the Guideline Favo, which are already very light and the Q is largely similar in weight to these. The Guideline Favo weighs a little bit less in all sizes but has a lower line capacity, so the Q stacks up quite favourably. While the smallest Q is a bit heavier than the smallest Loop Multi, the larger models actually come in a bit lighter.

Approx. line Loop Q Sage 2200 Guideline Favo
4/6 164g 148g 136g
6/8 188g 188g NA
7/9 226g 221g 162g
8/11 267g NA 216g
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure.

How do you change the spool?

One minor downside of the Loop Multi is that the spool release knob was removable and I am always worried I'll drop it and ruin a day's fishing. The Loop Q now uses the captive-nut system similar to the type found on other reels, such as those from Greys. This is very neatly integrated into the front of the reel and simply rotating the wheel unscrews the spool allowing you to lift it off the central drag housing.

As with the Loop Opti and Multi reels, which I think probably share the same excellent drag mechanism, there's a little lug on the drag that you need to line up with a port on the spool. This is much easier to do on the Loop Q, so changing spools is fairly quick and easy, and less hassle than the Sage 2200 which uses only a push fit system. It's nicely done.

The central nut is captive and cannot be lost.

What drag does the Loop Q fly reel use?

The drag assembly looks to be the same Power Matrix one used on Loop's more expensive reels, which is a good thing as it's an excellent system. The drag is fully sealed to prevent water and dirt getting inside and it loosens and tightens quickly and easily using a large, comfortable and grippy drag nut and it clamps down hard when you need it to. The fully sealed drag also means these can be used for saltwater fly fishing too.

A sealed drag is used so it should prove extremely resilient.

There's a very quiet outgoing click, so it's not embarrassingly noisy when stripping off line and there's an embedded counterbalance on the spool so it's balanced perfectly and doesn't shake or wobble even when line is being pulled off quickly. The large arbour means it retrieves line quickly and the small and ergonomically designed handle is the only thing sticking out, so there's little to snag line upon.

Picture copyright © Fly and Lure.

What is this reel like to use?

I've been using the Loop Q 6/8 on both a Loop Cross SX and a Loop Q series fly rod, both in 6 weight form. It's nice and light but has a high capacity, so it can house an average thickness fly line with room to spare and should have enough room for most specialist distance lines too. The v-shaped spool also seems to help the line stack neatly when retrieving too. It looks and feels high quality and feels smooth in action.

I think it's a cracking looking reel and it's been very well thought through. For example, the cage is enclosed so there's no way your line or leader can get through any gaps and find itself outside the housing as it can with some other reels. It's impressive for the price tag.

Picture copyright © Fly and Lure.

How much does it cost?

Although I own loads of Loop gear (including seven rods and about five reels), Loop let me borrow this one to review. It's not a reel I've purchased myself, but it's one I'd certainly be happy to spend my own cash on. Were it on the market when I bought my Loop Multis, I'd have gone for this instead. It's excellent value and better looking.

It sells for £120 and £130 depending on the size, making it very competitively priced against the Guideline Favo and Sage 2200 series fly reels, which both sell for similar amounts. The Loop Q fly reel is well-made, extremely stylish fly reel and looks more expensive than it is. If you're after a new reel, this is a solid choice.

More information: Loop Tackle Design

About the author

matt

Comments

  • smithy
    smithy About 5 months ago

    Read this. Bought one. Loved it. Ordered another. Thank you!

  • matt
    matt About 5 months ago Author

    That's great, Smithy. They are lovely for the money.

  • kanestew
    kanestew About 3 months ago

    I have been unable to find spare spools for my Loop Q Reel - has anyone managed to find them?

  • matt
    matt About 3 months ago Author

    @kanestew - You could try contacting Eoin Fairgreave at the Fly Fishing Centre in Kelso. He works for Loop and should be able to assist.

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